Beavers And Rooks Can’t Be Separated

Hampton & Richmond Borough turned in a much improved performance but were left ultimately frustrated in an entertaining match at The Dripping Pan.

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Manager Mark Harper, seemingly under threat of the sack after poor recent form, shook up his squad in the days before the match, releasing three players and signing two, both from Conference South side Havant & Waterlooville, as he looks to turn around his side’s fortunes. One of the new faces, winger Tony Taggart, started on the left, while the other, striker Ryan Moss, was on the bench. One thing the reshuffle did allow was for Joe Turner to move from central midfield to the right wing, and Mo Harkin to move inside from the left.

IMG_3522Straight from the off, Hampton looked like they wanted to seal the points, Charlie Moone getting through after just thirty seconds but shooting straight at Lewes goalkeeper Kieron Thorp. Lewes, though, were also looking good in the early stages, and Nathan Crabb drilled a cross through the six yard box after three minutes that just evaded everyone on its way wide. It was Hampton, though, who were creating the better chances, and after just seven minutes James Simmonds hit the cross bar for the first time, and the home defence threw themselves at the follow-ups to keep the scoresheet blank. Charlie Moone then had a shot blocked for a corner, from which Gary Holloway had two efforts blocked. Max Hustwick then headed wide from another corner as Borough battered at the Lewes door, but without success.

And as so often happens in football, it was Lewes who took the lead, somewhat against the run of play. Darren Powell gave the ball away to Nathan Crabb, who set Ben Godfrey away with a good through ball. Godfrey’s powerful shot was tipped over by Rodney Chiweshe, but a couple of minutes later the home fans were celebrating the opening goal. During a goalmouth scramble, the ball ricocheted around and Steve Brinkhurst eventually hooked the ball home superbly to put Lewes one up. Karl Beckford turned and shot soon after the goal, but Chiweshe saved easily.

At the other end, Borough continued to look for goals. On 23 minutes, Mo Harkin clipped a delightful ball through to Charlie Moone, who controlled and shot. Kieron Thorp saved, and as the ball span towards goal it was cleared away. Just after the half hour, though, the scores were level. Malvin Kamara raided into the box and was felled by Layton Schaaf. It was an easy decision for referee Andrew Parker to make, and he duly pointed to the spot. Charlie Moone stepped up, and put the kick away without problem to take him onto eighteen for the season in all competitions, half of them coming in the league. Shortly after, Simmonds hit the bar for the second time. He muscled his way through well and cracked a lovely volley that he was unlucky to see crash off the frame.

Two minutes before the break, and the visiting fans were celebrating a wonderful team goal. James Simmonds beat two defenders before backheeling the ball into the path of Tony Taggart. Taggart then clipped in a brilliant first time cross which was thumped in via the head of Joe Turner, who had steamed onto the cross from outside the area. The home defenders had absolutely no hope of stopping his run. It was a great goal, and a promising sign of things to come with Taggart on the left. It was also Turner’s second brilliant goal against Lewes, after already scoring a stunning volley in the first meeting back in OctoberHalf Time: Lewes 1 HRBFC 2

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The home side looked like they were in the mood for an equaliser in the early stages of the second half, with Brinkhurst and Godfrey missing chances. Hampton were still looking for a two goal cushion, though, and Turner could have provided it ten minutes in. Moone got awa down the right and drilled in a cross that Simmonds dummied, but Turner could only fire over from the edge of the area. Mo Harkin then shot over, before Lewes grabbed their leveller just after the hour. Layton Schaaf was allowed to turn and find space in the Hampton box, and he fired home left footed to delight the home fans behind the goal.

Lewes 'keeper Kieron Thorp gets to the ball ahead of Hampton's Charlie Moone

Lewes ‘keeper Kieron Thorp gets to the ball ahead of Hampton’s Charlie Moone

Tony Taggart was enjoying an excellent debut for Borough, and he almost provided his second assist of the match when he picked out Gary Holloway, but the midfielders sweeping shot went narrowly wide of Thorp’s right hand upright. Charlie Moone had been replaced by the other new face in the visitor’s squad, Ryan Moss, by then, and he just failed to get a touch on Turner’s drilled low cross. It would have been a dramatic introduction for the striker. James Simmonds had also missed out on the cross, and then shot over after cutting in from the left with what was his last contribution before being replaced by striker Mo Bettamer as Harper went all out in search of a much needed victory. And Bettamer almost provided just that, running at the Lewes defence before shooting for goal. However, Thorp got down smartly to tip the ball round his near post for a corner, from which Max Hustwick headed wide. It was the final action of an entertaining contest that finished all square.

From a fans’ point of view, there was definite improvement compared to recent performances. The club’s board had given Harper a three game ultimatum to turn around the team’s form, and although two games in that sequence have already passed, and have both ended in draws, there is definitely a sign that a win is coming. Let’s hope that win comes next Saturday against Concord Rangers.

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About James Bartaby

Hey, I'm James and I'm relatively new to non-league football, having only taken in my first match in September 2011. Despite it being a 0-4 defeat for Hampton & Richmond Borough, I became a huge fan of the club and NL in general. So much so that they are now the first club that I mention when talking about which team I support! I just got massively disillusioned with top flight football in this country and the attitudes of the lawmakers and top clubs in general, and I wanted to start taking my son to see decent football. I am now the club's Deputy Press Officer, and loving every minute!

Posted on January 7, 2013, in UTL Archive and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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